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The musings of a 30 year Sunday School practitioner, leader, author, blogger, and LifeWay Christian Resource’s Director of Sunday School. Practical tips for leading Bible study groups on and off your church campus.

March 23, 2020

Shepherding Your Group During COVID-19

During these days of COVID-19, online services and Bible studies, and social distancing, group leaders must serve their groups well in one way if they truly care for them. I wrote about this in my book Three Roles for Guiding Groups available from LifeWay.

Shepherding is one of the oldest professions in the world. It is first mentioned in Genesis 4:2 in regards to Abel. Shepherding language influenced biblical writers:

  • God is referred to as a shepherd (Psalm 78:52)
  • Leaders of God's people were described as shepherds (I Kings 22:17)
  • Jesus called himself a shepherd (Luke 12:32)
  • Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:10ff)
  • Psalm 23 uses shepherd imagery throughout  

Amos 3:12 is a prophetic verse, but embedded in it is a little-known fact about shepherds. That little-known fact is vitally important to group leaders everywhere today. Amos 3:12 says:

 12 This is what the Lord says:

“As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth
    only two leg bones or a piece of an ear,
so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued,
    with only the head of a bed
    and a piece of fabric from a couch.”


Why would a shepherd wrestle away a piece of a dead sheep from a predator? The answer: the shepherd is not the owner. The shepherd works for a master, and is accountable to him for each sheep entrusted to him.

As group leaders today, you and I are temporary shepherds/stewards of God’s people, His sheep. He’s the Owner/Master, not us. We are responsible for the sheep he temporarily gives us to shepherd. Therefore, we must watch them carefully, love them, and protect them - especially during the isolation taking place during COVID-19 "shelter in place" days.

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